Author Topic: Stockhausen's Spaceship  (Read 271845 times)

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gomro

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #40 on: October 18, 2007, 03:20:34 PM »


Got this new nicely programmed disc...
works for bass clarinet & piano..
Klavierstuck IX, VII & VIII (solo piano)
Tanze Luzefa! & In Freundschaft (solo bass clarinet)
Tierkreis 12 melodies for the Star Signs (bass clarinet & piano)
(68'27)

Looks like a good set to me. Can't have too many Tierkreises. Tierkreisae. Tierkreisi. Zodiacs. My favorite is the Trio version, so far, but I hope he orchestrates the rest of them like the Five Star Signs (Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn) that premiered earlier this year.

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2007, 02:15:42 AM »
I have translated an article from the German magazine Der Spiegel from around 1987.  (Exact issue date is gone.)

Note it is written by the editor himself.


"With Hitler and a Bow-Wow into Cloud-Cuckoo-Land
Spiegel Editor Klaus Umbach on Karlheinz Stockhausen’s new opera Montag aus Licht

Like a lord, with curly hair down to his shoulders, he sits enthroned in the glow of spotlights 5 meters above the earthly stage.  His bright shirt is colorfully knitted, his trousers blossom white.  You cannot help but look at him: Karlheinz Stockhausen, 59, a figure of En-Light-enment for the contemporary electronic music scene.

With big eyes full of transfigured delight, this composer on the podium of the Cologne Philharmonic, a man who spiritually is able “to leave my body and observe it as if it were an automobile,” pursues a kind of neocreation of creativity: his work.  And he saw, that it was good.

Among “21 musical performers,”, small ensembles of singers, children’s choirs, traditional and electronic sound generators, among the cries of babies, goats bleating, and the beat of a cuckoo clock, 3 women named after the primeval mother Eve shriek through a squadron of giant loudspeakers “Huvva Luhudens” and “Akka Aditi”, at which point a choir, after a hymn to God as an “immeasurable Intelligence” monosyllabically chants a response: “Michi Michikiki niminimi.”

Then a “Birthday Aria” (“Parrot aye Parakeet Bow Wow!”) is to be understood, according to a published exegesis by Stockhausen himself, that Heaven has bestowed Life to 7 “Animal boys” and to 7 Dwarfs: “Luci-cat, Wee-wee-grimace, Penis-treasure, Birdie-boobs, Johnny Top, Manny-Tickle-Deer, and Little Brat.”

In grateful joy: 3 sailors gargle – according to the score – the sounds “a---öäua aö oöa oa ua” and then “ruketu Urt Werdani,” spitting out the water in high arches.

Up until then it had been a really colorful evening!

But then Hell bursts out in Stockhausen’s Eden.  Luci-Polyp steps out in the forms of 2 Beelzebubs and rattles down the alphabet “from A-fa and Be-fa to Upsilon-fa and Zee-fa.” Then an alarm clock goes off, and Adolf Hitler snores an historic O-tone, so that “we shoot back to 5:45 A.M.,” a crowd of men shout “Hail!” and a toilet flushes from an 8-track tape directed by 40 channels of sound.  Aha!  Creation is excrement, the miscarriage must go through the toilet back to a mother’s lap.

On to something new: a flock of lovely maidens prophesies “sea Samudra Ice,” apparently the code of an exotic genetic technology.  Because immediately a pair of rough chords occur on Eva’s Steinway (“Fertilization with Piano Piece”), the birth proceeds (“frai dai dai vae”) crazily fast, and already they are in the world of Karlheinz Stockhausen: “seven boys of the days,” “healthier and more beautiful human beings,” monstrosities of a composing visionary, who long ago lifted off into the cloud-cuckoo-land of his own crazy-quilted private philosophy.

So (“sonono nononono no”) this is the way things have been screaming with birth-pangs since 1977, and it will continue in installments until the next century, if the powers of inspiration remain whole for the creator.  Then it shall completely enlighten mankind: Stockhausen’s LIGHT, the most monumental and monomaniacal undertaking in Western Musical History, a cycle of operas structured and named after the days of the week, 5 times greater than all of Beethoven’ symphonies together, and at more than 30 hours a Colossus of Time, compared to which Wagner’s Ring tetralogy is a “a cute little chamber opera” (the newspaper Kölnische Rundschau).

At the beginning of April Stockhausen oversaw at the control panel the concert premiere of his latest piece Montag aus Licht.  On Saturday of this week Michael Bogdanov, Hamburg’s designated theater director, is arranging a premiere at La Scala of Donnerstag aus Licht via his previous London staging.

For over 4 hours this syllabic and sibylline  “Play of Light” winds around out of the incense from Poona and Oberammergau, from the Bible, legends, the vocabulary of children’s books, and the coffee grounds of Erich von Däniken (Note: a pseudo-scientist who claimed he had evidence of extra-terrestrial landings in ancient times), leading to the heights of the Bergisch Land and Kürten 5067 (Note: Stockhausen’s town and zip code), where Stockhausen has his center, a man who claims “not to be necessarily identical to Stockhausen the composer.”

Here at the address of Kettenberg 15, a green hill of electronic music astrology, he could listen in on “the 12 melodies of the zodiac”  as well as perceiving the vibrations of Sirius, the “central sun of our area of the Universe,” over 8.7 light-years away, “the highest form of oscillations,” under whose influence he went from new-sound revolutionary to a new-age softie, and from a philharmonic terror of the middle-class to the supernova of a messianically turned community.

Whether as a pioneer at the podium or the music mixer or as Heaven’s loudspeaker, he always stood at the center.  His work Kreuzspiel caused a scandal in 1952 at the Darmstadt New Music Festival.  His Gesang der Jünglinge almost became a classic.  He created by his won estimation the first works of purely electronic music in 19534 at the WDR studios.  The Beatles even honored him with his portrait on the album cover of Sergeant Pepper.  The Distinguished Service Cross Winner of the Republic of Germany once represented the brotherhood of the musical avant-garde in Bonn’s Villa Hammerschmidt and in Lebanon for a German cultural exposition.  During Expo 1970 in Osaka 21 soloists offered his new German sounds in a round auditorium for 5 1/2 hours per day over 183 days, and more than a million fair visitors listened enchanted to this new kind of permanent wave from Germany.

In Amsterdam, as late as 1985, according to a Stuttgart newspaper, “Stockhausen would draw more people than Karajan.”  And last year the composer’s son and trumpeter Markus even promoted his father in East Germany.

But the more frequently Stockhausen has directed ear into the Universe from his high throne his artistic sense to ideas on salvation, the more persistently he has destroyed his regular position as Germany’s #1 composer, which he quite rightly deserved as a revolutionary of the new and as a grandiose craftsman.

To be sure, even in the 3-act Montag aus Licht there are still some trace elements of his sonic inspiration in evidence, especially in the exquisite mixture of voices, synthesizers, and noises, even in the songs without words, which the bassett-horn player Suzanne Stephens and flautist Kathinka Pasveer perform with virtuoso elegance.

But unpleasantly there is nothing else of interest in this score, and it even becomes unsettling to realize: when it gets loud, it sounds like Orff, and when it gets soft, it moans like Cats, and if it keeps going like this, if Sonntag aus Licht is to be expected in the year 2002 as developing this trend, we can expect the world to beam in C major!

This whole musical-theatrical spectacle becomes embarrassing first through its “text-action-stew” (quote from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) with which “total artwork creator” (Gesamtkunstwerker) Stockhausen waters down his musical message, and it makes no difference, as composer and critic Dietmar Polaczek wonders, whether “lower Rhine peasant Buddhism” or “tantric-lamaistic monastic Catholicism” is befogging Stockhausen’s sensibilities.

In any case, his community of believers can be seized by the metaphysical smoke from Kürten, and even the Hamburg newspaper Die Zeit ("The Times") gives the prayer wheel a spin: this work LICHT, said the newspaper in all seriousness about the unfinished work, might be a new type of evangelization, a type of Apocalypse of Karlheinz, and between Hitler, Bow-Wow, and a parakeet (“who attempts to whistle the Marseillaise” according to the score) arises “the art of composing as a new sacrament of the new human in a new, transformed Universe.”

There, in this new ivory-tower full of thoroughly senseless “Times-liness”, the Guru from Bergisch Land “would like to be allowed to make music with planets and moons and roaring groups of planets and suns and moons.”

Really, it’s almost tragic: while Karlheinz Stockhausen, the searcher for God, treks down the Milky Way of the Cosmos with his retinue, the composer of the same name has been going down backward on the wrong road for a long time."




« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 03:51:24 AM by Cato »
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2007, 02:25:42 AM »
He's going to be 80 next year...
a few of my faves...



And then they will perform the whole LICHT in Dresden in 2008.  :D  :D  :D

Please if anyone know more exactly when and how to get tickets, I would really like to know!  ::)

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2007, 03:47:04 AM »
A few comments on the translated article above from Der Spiegel, a magazine which finds no real equivalent in the U.S.  It resembles Time, but is probably 5 times thicker these days, and obviously therefore carries much more news with "deeper" commentary than Time or Newsweek.

I have always found it interesting that the magazine (c. 1987) deemed Stockhausen worthy of 3 whole pages (plus pictures).

Imagine Time giving 3 pages to e.g. John Adams or Philip Glass to chastise them for becoming egocentric and musically conservative!

The original German is also written in a very high, very ironic style, lurching into sarcasm at times, and complete with double and triple puns, which were difficult to render, but I hope some of them came through.
 
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline Al Moritz

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2007, 08:14:34 AM »
Thanks for posting this, Cato.

Funny, after having first heard “classics” like Gruppen and Carré, it was exactly the opera Montag aus Licht that convinced me back in 2000 that Stockhausen was not just one of the "typical" great 20th century composers, but a composer of truly exceptional status. If anything, my admiration for this opera has grown over time (as has the one for the just mentioned old “classics”)

Even if you would have held a pistol against my head, I could never have made a correlation with Orff. And of course, the critic’s prediction about the C major has not panned out.

I do, however, appreciate that the critic has found some positive things to say about the music.

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2007, 08:50:32 AM »
Thanks for posting this, Cato.

Funny, after having first heard “classics” like Gruppen and Carré, it was exactly the opera Montag aus Licht that convinced me back in 2000 that Stockhausen was not just one of the "typical" great 20th century composers, but a composer of truly exceptional status. If anything, my admiration for this opera has grown over time (as has the one for the just mentioned old “classics”)

Even if you would have held a pistol against my head, I could never have made a correlation with Orff. And of course, the critic’s prediction about the C major has not panned out.

I do, however, appreciate that the critic has found some positive things to say about the music.


You are very welcome!

Well, I think the C major prediction was just some hyperbole of style! 

What is interesting is that one senses a hostility toward Stockhausen's highly idiosyncratic mysticism, a hostility that goes beyond what one might expect.  To be sure, the writer does try to stay focused on the purely musical aspects, as much as possible.

If the composer were a militant atheist    :o   , what might then be the critical reaction to LICHT?    0:) 

And perhaps minds will change when the entire opus is presented!  From my fragmentary experience with the cycle, I suspect not many minds will change.
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #46 on: December 10, 2007, 09:35:03 AM »
Karlheinz may now be discovering exactly whether or not his mystical visions had any connection to the universe, and if they connected to anything beyond the universe.   0:)

One wonders about the "personal" legacy: the curious relationship   >:D   with Pasveer and Stephens, 2 ex-wives, and 6 children. 

Who will write the "official biography" now?

Will the website finally be upgraded to something decent?!   8)

How many unfinished works are lying around?   :o
Probably Stockhausen will present a case where no musicologist could ever claim to know how to complete one of his works.

See also Mark Swed's obituary for Stockhausen:  http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-stockhausen8dec08,0,4248797.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 09:36:48 AM by Cato »
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

karlhenning

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #47 on: December 10, 2007, 09:36:34 AM »
Probably Stockhausen will present a case where no musicologist could ever claim to know how to complete one of his works.

Wonderful thought!  ;)

Offline edward

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2007, 09:37:36 AM »
How many unfinished works are lying around?   :o
Probably Stockhausen will present a case where no musicologist could ever claim to know how to complete one of his works.
Astral projection to Sirius, anyone?
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

karlhenning

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #49 on: December 10, 2007, 09:39:41 AM »
Nah, Edward, my calendar's just too full.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #50 on: December 10, 2007, 09:43:03 AM »
Anablog, bloggers in Baltimore (I think) have set up a list of all the tributes (including mine  :D), here

Edit: Whoops, that was just Part II.  Here is Part I.  A huge number of them!  :o

--Bruce
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 10:00:31 AM by bhodges »
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Harry

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #51 on: December 10, 2007, 09:57:43 AM »
Last evening I saw and heard a piece of him on Arte Channel....
I was shocked...profoundly

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #52 on: December 10, 2007, 10:14:23 AM »
Last evening I saw and heard a piece of him on Arte Channel....
I was shocked...profoundly

Can you be more specific?  What shocks a Dutchman these days?    $:)
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

karlhenning

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #53 on: December 10, 2007, 10:15:03 AM »
Surgical strike, Cato;D

Harry

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #54 on: December 10, 2007, 10:17:25 AM »
Can you be more specific?  What shocks a Dutchman these days?    $:)

I did not finish it, it finished me.
I was so in shock, that I forgot what piece it was.
Electronics, and the torture of different String instruments....

Offline edward

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #55 on: December 10, 2007, 10:29:35 AM »
I did not finish it, it finished me.
I was so in shock, that I forgot what piece it was.
Electronics, and the torture of different String instruments....
Stockhausen's certainly not for everyone. I've got a sneaking hunch you'd enjoy Tierkreis, though.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #56 on: December 10, 2007, 10:32:57 AM »
I did not finish it, it finished me.
I was so in shock, that I forgot what piece it was.
Electronics, and the torture of different String instruments....

Stockhausen prescribed Gulag treatment for the progeny of Stradivarius?   :o

While rummaging through the tributes, I came across an absolutely hilarious book, although not printed as a satire and meant to be taken with solemn seriousness and even serious solemnity:

Stockhausen Serves Imperialism
by Cornelius Cardew.

http://www.ubu.com/historical/cardew/cardew_stockhausen.pdf

Scroll down to see mass-murderer Mao (body count 75-100 million) allowing the sun to rise!

But if he did serve imperialism,   $:)    this would be another reason to like Stockhausen!   0:)

"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #57 on: December 11, 2007, 04:48:05 AM »
It will be interesting to see if the establishment "rethinks" their opinion on Stockhausen, when (if?) the complete LICHT-cycle is performed next year.

In the past the death of a composer/artist has meant that the works will fade away quickly, waiting to be rediscovered and lionized in the future.  A "paradigm shift" had to occur, before a true estimation could be found.

Of course, some paradigm shifts are only worth 20 cents.    :o

The current opinion, that Stockhausen went awry with an out-of-control solipsism back in the 1970's and that 10 minutes of LICHT is the only evidence you would need at a commitment trial to prove it, may prove to be enduring.

(e.g. See the translation of the article by Klaus Umbach below.)
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline Al Moritz

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #58 on: December 11, 2007, 11:37:41 AM »
The current opinion, that Stockhausen went awry with an out-of-control solipsism back in the 1970's and that 10 minutes of LICHT is the only evidence you would need at a commitment trial to prove it, may prove to be enduring.

This opinion may prove to be enduring as long as people keep on not knowing his stunning late music. An opinion based on lack of knowledge.

Too bad that the Helikopter-Streichquartett, one of his few "duds" (or at least, only accessible to people with a wavelength for it, which does not quite include me) is one of the few musics of late Stockhausen that are available outside Stockhausen-Verlag.

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #59 on: December 11, 2007, 12:09:15 PM »
This opinion may prove to be enduring as long as people keep on not knowing his stunning late music. An opinion based on lack of knowledge.

Too bad that the Helikopter-Streichquartett, one of his few "duds" (or at least, only accessible to people with a wavelength for it, which does not quite include me) is one of the few musics of late Stockhausen that are available outside Stockhausen-Verlag.

I found a CD of it mispriced for $4.00 some years ago at Media Play, a chain now bankrupt, probably because they mispriced their CD's!  (Too many 20-something employees!)   :o

Excerpts from this work amazed and appalled my 16-17 year-old students: I showed them that, yes, intelligent people took Stockhausen quite seriously, among them the Arditti Quartet, WDR, et al.

Most remained highly skeptical, but a few delved deeper into Stockhausen's psychic pond!
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

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